Times of Oman’s reported an article two days ago about an Omani lady’s denial of entry to USA for having the wrong visa.
The article has stirred a lot of comments on it’s Facebook page. Times of Oman tries (poorly) to suggest that the world treats all Arabs and Muslims with suspicion.
The article states an Omani lady traveled to the USA as a student for university work but she was denied entry as she had traveled on a visitor’s /tourist visa. She was frisked, cuffed and she felt she was treated like a “criminal” is the story of the article.
That’s the same treatment any one visiting Oman on the wrong visa would get, so I am not sure what the point is in reporting this as news.
Though I am sure they’d do it with some civility and respect, especially towards women.
I think the point the journo is making here is about the Islamophobia people have towards Arab people, which we can’t deny exists. Many of my Indian friends have had their share of differential treatment when they were mistaken for as Arabs. In India, Some of us wear a scarf, just as an antipollution mask, and we are mistaken for being a Muslim. The irony is many Indians are still skeptical of mingling with fellow Indian Muslims. There’s yet another generalized fear of making friends with Christians’ whose only motive in life is to convert others to their religion (though none of this fear prevents anyone from hoping to get a share of their Christmas cake or Eid Biryani). It takes a few natural calamities and floods to fix the bigotry-
A couple of years ago, I met an Indian ENT doctor in Chennai. He had just opened up his practice in KK Nagar in Chennai. His clinic was a former provision store that had been turned into a make shift clinic. With a table and chair and no receptionists, it was a modest set up.
He was quick to not let us judge his clinic set up and began talking about his life in Harvard Medical School, Boston. After dismissing the doctors (his former teachers) of Vijaya Hospital (in Chennai) who had operated my tonsillitis almost two decades ago, he began asking me how we had lived in the Middle East.
“How do you people choose to live there? Are there any bombings where you live? Do you live away from the Arabs in an Indian community or …I don’t know, USA is really open minded. Everyone is protected there. I don’t know how you make the choice?”
We had nothing to reply. We could only pity him. Some people are so underprivileged that they only get to see the world with closed eyes.
“Is it for the money that you people live there?”
The blue green waters of Sur beaches, the wadis, the forts and corniche, the manicured gardens by the high roads, the Omanization, regulations in the job market scene and endless kind faces paraded through my mind, and I said,
“No, we all moved out of Oman, for money.”